In December 1997, the Federal Government agreed on a bill which includes a
variety of measures to improve the social security provisions for flexible
working time arrangements and to allow for easier application of the Partial
Retirement Law (DE9710133F ). The new law came into effect on 1 January
At present, Sweden has no legislation expressly forbidding discrimination
against people with disabilities in working life. For example, there is
nothing preventing private employers from excluding job applicants with some
form of disability with express reference to their disability, as they are in
principle free to employ whomever they choose. On 3 December 1997 a committee
appointed by the Government therefore proposed a new act prohibiting
discrimination in working life against people with disabilities.
A perceived dearth of openings for apprentices, in the context of the
demographic trends leading to increasing numbers of 15-year-olds, was one of
the major employment issues in 1997 (AT9708128F ). Alerted, the Government
and the social partners intend not to be caught unawares in 1998.
Preparations are already underway to have the right incentives and sufficient
counseling capacity in place when school finishes at the end of June. For the
time being, however, the preparations are hampered by competing and
conflicting evaluations of the measures taken in 1997 (AT9706116F ), and
by disagreement over the scale the problem is likely to assume in 1998. They
are also hampered by the fact that the cost of the 1997 measures is not
The political debate on employment policies in Belgium grew bitter just
before the Christmas break at the end of 1997. Recommendations on government
policies made by the new Higher Council for Employment provoked the anger of
the leaders of the two main trade union organisations and some critical
declarations from the chief executive of the employers' federation.
In an interview on national Norwegian television in January 1998, the
Minister of Labour and Government Administration, Eldbjørg Løwer, called
for the lifting of the ban on private employment agencies (reported in
/Aftenposten/ on 9 January 1998). Speaking in general terms about the
contemporary labour market situation in Norway, she recognised the need to
modernise the present system of regulations on private employment agencies as
well as on the temporary secondment of employees from one firm to another
(NO9708118F ). Ms Løwer envisages a reversal of the present legal
arrangements in both areas. The prohibitions on private employment agencies
and on the temporary secondment of employees from one company to another
should be abolished, while alternative restrictions may be put on certain
types of occupational groups, and on the quota of workers on "lease" in any
given firm or company.
In December 1997 and January 1998, France has seen a growing wave of protests
by unemployed people, which has grown from specific local actions into a
nationwide movement. The demands of the protesters have challenged both the
Government and the trade unions which co-manage the unemployment insurance
fund, and raised basic questions about the collective representation of
unemployed people and the financial support for those unemployed long-term.
At the end of December 1997, the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD)
- the professional body for personnel managers - launched its /Management of
equality/ awards. These will be awarded annually by the Equal Opportunities
Commission (EOC), the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Employers'
Forum on Disability (EFD) to students taking IPD qualifications who come up
with creative solutions to the problems of equal opportunities.
In a resolution  adopted by its executive committee on 5 December 1997,
the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) expresses its belief that a
well-defined, strategic social policy Action Programme is essential in
underpinning the present phase of European integration and enlargement. It is
argued that without a social dimension, the political and economic objectives
of the EU, such as a high level of employment and social protection, equality
between men and women and the combating of social exclusion and
discrimination cannot be fully realised.
On 7 January 1998 the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, and the Steel
Employers' Association (Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) signed a new collective
agreement for the about 8,000 employees in the east German steel industry.
The collective bargaining parties agreed on a flat-rate payment of DEM 330
for the period October 1997 to December 1997 and a 2.6% wage increase from
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund,
ÖGB) has launched a campaign in 1998 to make good on one of its
long-standing demands: the removal of the remaining legal differences between
wage earners/blue-collar workers (Arbeiter) and salary earners/white-collar
workers (Angestellten). In the late 1970s, equality in holiday regulations
and severance pay was achieved. Now ÖGB wants regulations concerning wage
earners' payment during sickness and dismissal notice periods to be brought
up to salary earner standards. The ÖGB sees this as the final phase of a
historical social policy project. The Austrian Chamber of the Economy
(Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ) has made it clear it opposes any
measure that would increase total wage costs, this being one of the hottest
issues between social partners at national level. By the WKÖ's reckoning,
upward equalisation would cost ATS 10 billion per year, while the ÖGB
estimates the net cost to be about ATS 1 billion per year. There are 1.3
million wage earners on annual average, about 43% of total employment.
Eurofound’s work on COVID-19 examines the far-reaching socioeconomic implications of the pandemic across Europe as they continue to impact living and working conditions. A key element of the research is the e-survey, conducted in three rounds – in April and July 2020 and in March 2021. This is complemented by the inclusion of research into the ongoing effects of the pandemic in much of Eurofound’s other areas of work.
The European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) launched in 1990 and is carried out every five years, with the latest edition in 2015. It provides an overview of trends in working conditions and quality of employment for the last 30 years. It covers issues such as employment status, working time duration and organisation, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, work–life balance, worker participation, earnings and financial security, work and health, and most recently also the future of work.
The European Restructuring Monitor has reported on the employment impact of large-scale business restructuring since 2002. This series includes its restructuring-related databases (events, support instruments and legislation) as well as case studies and publications.
Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.
Eurofound’s European Company Survey (ECS) maps and analyses company policies and practices which can have an impact on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as the development of social dialogue in companies. This series consists of outputs from the ECS 2019, the fourth edition of the survey. The survey was first carried out in 2004–2005 as the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.
Eurofound's representativness studies are designed to allow the European Commission to identify the ‘management and labour’ whom it must consult under article 154 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This series consists of studies of the representativeness of employer and worker organisations in various sectors.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
This series reports on the new forms of employment emerging across Europe that are driven by societal, economic and technological developments and are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. This series explores what characterises these new employment forms and what implications they have for working conditions and the labour market.
The European Company Survey (ECS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2004–2005, with the latest edition in 2019. The survey is designed to provide information on workplace practices to develop and evaluate socioeconomic policy in the EU. It covers issues around work organisation, working time arrangements and work–life balance, flexibility, workplace innovation, employee involvement, human resource management, social dialogue, and most recently also skills use, skills strategies and digitalisation.
The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is carried out every four to five years since its inception in 2003, with the latest edition in 2016. It examines both the objective circumstances of people's lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. It covers issues around employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work–life balance. It also looks at subjective topics, such as people's levels of happiness and life satisfaction, and perceptions of the quality of society.
As part of an annual series on minimum wages, this report summarises the key developments during 2020 and early 2021 with an emphasis on social partners’ roles and views. It looks at how minimum wages were set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and how minimum wages act as a reference for income support measures. Information from interviews with decision-makers on the process of setting the minimum wage in 2020, along with their assessment of impacts of the proposed EU Directive on adequate minimum wages is also included.
This joint publication with the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents the findings from complementary research carried out simultaneously by both agencies on the socioeconomic impacts of climate policies and measures. While Eurofound focuses particularly on the distributional effects of these policies based on the experiences of Member States, the EEA analyses scientific research about the monetary and non-monetary social impacts of climate mitigation policies and its outcome in terms of inequalities.
While the EU is considered to be a global leader in gender equality, it is not yet a reality for millions of Europeans given the different dynamics in the Member States. The EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2025 acknowledges the slow speed of progress and outlines key actions to promote gender equality. Have all countries improved their performance? Which countries have been able to dramatically reduce gender inequality? Which countries lag behind?
The European Green Deal features high on Member State agendas. However, there are concerns that the necessary changes to climate policy may have undesirable socioeconomic consequences, such as regressive distributional effects and increased inequality. This report attempts to identify those policies where there is a significant risk involved and aims to provide guidance on how negative distributional risk can be mitigated.
Based on data from the European Company Survey 2019, this policy brief examines the characteristics of innovative companies and explores the types of workplace practices that are significantly associated with establishments' likelihood of introducing innovation. It also investigates differences between workplace practices of innovative and non-innovative companies. Additionally, data gathered through case studies analyse the role of workplace practices in different phases of the innovation process.
This report investigates the convergence of Member States in various dimensions of living conditions. Indicators are drawn from the European Quality of Life Surveys and other surveys. The analysis pays special attention to particular subgroups such as young people and women. The analysis also investigates the key drivers of convergence in living conditions.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, a high demand for labour and low unemployment levels made labour shortages one of the key policy concerns in the EU. Even where there is persistent and rising unemployment, individual countries, sectors and occupations are experiencing labour shortages, which in some instances have been accentuated by COVID-19. This report explores various approaches to measuring labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue.
As the EU embarks on the transition to a climate-neutral economy, it is crucial to understand the impact of such a transition on production models, employment, work organisation, working conditions, social dialogue and citizens’ lives and living conditions.
The issue of regional convergence and whether disadvantaged regions are catching up with wealthier regions continues to attract enormous attention in the policy debate. This report presents the findings of an investigation into the evolution of social imbalances across EU regions over time, based on indicators including unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. It also examines various aspects of the relationship between growth, regional disparities and interpersonal inequalities.
Digital technologies have made it possible for many workers to carry out their work anytime and anywhere, with consequent advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages, for remote workers and teleworkers in particular, include the risk to health and well-being linked to long working hours. To address this issue, there have been calls for the ‘right to disconnect’. This report includes case studies that chart the implementation and impact of the right to disconnect at workplace level.